Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed is finally a Melbourne Cup winner

It has taken 30 years and millions of dollars, but Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum can now finally cal...

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 10:46 AM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 10:46 AM

It has taken 30 years and millions of dollars, but Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum can now finally call himself a Melbourne Cup winner.

His Cross Counter, a three-year-old bay gelding ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, came from the outside to beat Marmelo by a length to bring home the $2.8 million Melbourne Cup following years of disappointment for the billionaire Dubai ruler.

Animals

Australia

Continents and regions

Dubai

Endurance sports

Equestrian events

Equestrian sports

Europe

Horse racing

Horses

Life forms

Mammals

Melbourne Cup

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Northern Europe

Oceania

Running and jogging

Sports and recreation

Sports events

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

Cross Counter's historic victory was described by his British trainer, Charlie Appleby, as "everybody's dream."

"This is all down to Sheikh Mohammed, he's the one that's given us all the encouragement to take the chances in what we do internationally," Appleby told the website of Godolphin, the Maktoum family's global horse-racing stable founded by the Dubai ruler in 1992.

READ: Cross Counter wins rain-soaked Melbourne Cup

Cup drought

The win by Cross Counter, the first English horse to triumph in the Melbourne Cup, came 30 years after Sheikh Mohammed fielded his first horse, Authaal, in the "race that stops a nation." It was also 20 years after Faithful Son became the first runner for the Godolphin operation in Melbourne.

Since its foundation in 1992, Godolphin, which was named after Godolphin Arabian, a stallion imported to England three centuries ago, has fielded 4,664 horses in more than 26,000 runs. In the past 26 years, Godolphin horses have won 5,190 races, including 288 Group 1 wins.

That's a strike rate of 20% for the group -- the racing arm of Sheikh Mohammed's Darley breeding operation -- which has outposts in Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Ireland, France, the US and Australia.

Still, until this week, Godolphin had only three second places and two third places to show for in the Melbourne Cup, despite investing as much as A$1.1 billion ($800 million) in the sport Down Under, according to a 2016 report by the Australian Financial Review citing Godolphin Australia's financial results filed with the country's corporate regulator the year before.

"Learning curve"

In 2016, Godolphin sent five horses to Australia to compete in the race, only to walk away empty-handed once again.

This year, Sheikh Mohammed had three runners in the Melbourne Cup, spread across his three training operations headed by Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor in the UK and UAE and James Cummings in Australia.

Bin Suroor's Best Solution and Cummings' Avilius finished eighth and 22nd respectively, but Appleby struck gold.

"We've been competitive, but we've learnt more on each trip about what will make us more competitive," said Appleby, who was saddling his third Melbourne Cup entry after stepping up from assistant trainer in 2013 following the eight-year ban handed to then Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni for illegally administering steroids to some of his horses.

"That's what it's all about, the learning curve. I'm just in a fortunate position to have the horses to make the call on which are the right ones to bring down here."

The Newmarket-based Appleby, who gave Godolphin its first Epsom Derby winner, Masar, in June, added: "This is huge for everybody. For me, of course this is the biggest thing along with the Derby. This year has just been one of those amazing years."

READ: The equine superstuds giving Federer and Messi a run for their money

Stellar 2018

After some fallow years, this season has proved to be stellar one for Godolphin, which ended the British Flat racing season as the leading owner, claiming 113 wins, including its first Epsom Derby, and winning £4.5 million in prize money, according to the website of the British Horseracing Authority.

Bin Suroor's Thunder Snow also won the $10 million Dubai World Cup in Meydan in March.

But horse racing is a costly business and often prize money doesn't cover the costs unless the horse is used for breeding.

During the 2018 Flat season, Goldophin fielded 242 horses in Britain. With the cost of training a thoroughbred averaging around £20,000 ($26,000) a year, that means it may have spent as much as £4.8 million on getting the animals race ready.

Trying to win races in Australia is even more expensive, with flights from Europe costing as much as $68,000 per animal.

Victoria Racing Club chairwoman Amanda Elliot paid tribute to the persistence of Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

"There is no one who has put more horses into this race and this is his wonderful first win," Elliott told the New Zealand Herald. "I hope he's watching. We send him our best. And many, many congratulations."

Huntsville
Few Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 76°
Florence
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 83°
Fayetteville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 83°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 75°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 55986

Reported Deaths: 685
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby12549208
Davidson12234132
Rutherford323437
Hamilton300736
Sumner172755
Williamson151515
Trousdale15035
Knox13929
Out of TN12307
Wilson106017
Putnam9267
Robertson87511
Bradley8744
Sevier8573
Unassigned8302
Lake6960
Tipton6625
Bledsoe6241
Montgomery6207
Bedford5898
Macon5114
Maury4063
Hamblen3974
Hardeman3744
Fayette3443
Madison3392
Loudon3021
Rhea2930
Blount2723
Dyer2703
McMinn25518
Cheatham2432
Dickson2310
Washington1970
Cumberland1934
Lawrence1926
Anderson1662
Lauderdale1643
Sullivan1592
Jefferson1481
Gibson1471
Monroe1416
Smith1362
Coffee1320
Greene1222
Hardin1197
Obion1172
Cocke1160
Haywood1082
Franklin1013
Marshall1011
Warren1000
Hickman950
Wayne900
Marion874
McNairy841
Lincoln780
Giles771
White773
Carter751
Roane710
DeKalb700
Overton671
Weakley671
Hawkins662
Grundy652
Campbell621
Claiborne590
Henderson560
Unicoi560
Carroll491
Chester480
Grainger480
Polk480
Henry470
Crockett443
Johnson440
Sequatchie420
Cannon410
Humphreys352
Perry350
Meigs340
Jackson330
Morgan291
Fentress250
Stewart250
Decatur240
Scott210
Union190
Clay180
Moore170
Houston160
Benton131
Hancock90
Lewis70
Van Buren70
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events